Sumaira Abdulali, an environmental activist, has demanded a full investigation into the possible role of illegal sand dredging in weakening the foundations of the Mahad bridge, eventually leading to its collapse.
Around 22 people were washed away when the British-era bridge collapsed under the impact of heavy rainfall.
Writing to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Abdulali alleged that sand mining was impacting other bridges in Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai.
“The Savitri River at Mahad is one of the many over-exploited areas being misused to dredge massive quantities of sand. Sand mining sites even when not directly next to the collapsed bridge, but when placed upstream and downstream of a bridge, may change the flow and increase the force of the river. Such changes could have contributed in washing away the bridge which has survived the force of nature for decades since the British era and was recently certified as safe,” Abdulali said in her letter.
The activist said that despite various court orders to control sand mining, and numerous complaints from local villagers, the state government had permitted sand dredging using suction pumps at some locations through a change in policy.